Working off clues from a blurry image of an 11-year-old girl wearing pajamas in the back of a car, federal agents scrambled to find the pedophile who posted the image on the Internet and asked how he should rape the little girl.
Determined Homeland Security agents in Washington, D.C., analyzed the photo for any possible clues that could lead them to the girl’s location. Agents were ultimately able to beat the odds and save the girl in an operation they called “Sunflower.”
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In a narrow, windowless office outside Washington, DC, Special Agent Jim Cole sits at a bank of computer screens. The room is modest but the technology Cole is using is second to none.
He showed CNN’s Freedom Project how Homeland Security Investigations agents chase down child pornographers. The tone in his voice changes when he begins to tell us about the 11-year-old girl and the special case, which the agency has termed “Sunflower.”
“This Sunflower series [of photos] was being posted by an individual who was looking for information on how best to rape this little girl and get away with it.”
Shockingly, the pedophile actually began getting advice about raping the child.
“The advice he was getting online ranged from drugging her to brutally attacking her,” Cole said. “It was progressing so we were extremely concerned for her welfare.”
Cole, who has two daughters of his own, explained the blurry highway road sign in the picture provided the first and best clue. And at that, he and his fellow agents got to work.